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Quiet, reserved, painfully shy, Galton Flood arrives in the Guyanese township of Linden haunted by the death of his domineering mother. There he meets Gemma Burrowes, a vibrant young woman eager to escape the confines of her father’s boarding house. They marry and make a home in the anonymous sprawl of Georgetown, Galton's native city, where Gemma starts to realize that there is something very wrong with this match, and with Galton himself.
On its first publication in 1978, The Murderer was greeted as a landmark in Caribbean literature, acclaimed both for its subtle portrayal of a disturbed anti-hero and for revealing with "uncanny precision . . . the discrepancy between the personal power of a woman within the family and her lack of influence outside it" (Homi Bhabha, Times Literary Supplement).
Born in what was then British Guiana, Roy Heath (1926–2008) grew up in a working-class neighborhood of Georgetown and in the coastal village of Agricola. In 1950, he moved to London to pursue graduate studies in modern languages; for many years he worked as a schoolteacher of French and German. He published his first novel, A Man Come Home (1974), at the age of forty-eight; his second novel, The Murderer, received the Guardian Fiction Prize. He would publish eight more books, all of them set in Guyana, a country to which he often returned.